#31DaysofHorror Reviews: Eli & Gothika

Eli ~ Netflix


Eli is a new Netflix movie released a few weeks ago. It has a horrible score, 43%, on Rotten Tomatoes. But, I oddly enjoyed this movie. There’s a lot going on in this film. One minute it’s a haunted house, the next it’s mad scientist experiments & then, totally out of left field is… well, I won’t spoil it.

The plot is about a boy, Eli, that is allergic to everything, air, water, pretty much everything. The family has resorted to an experimental treatment to try to cure Eli of his genetic disorder that is causing him to live in the plastic bubble & go outside in Hazmat suits. They find a promise of a cure through Dr. Isabella Horn, who has apparently cured other children afflicted with similar illnesses. Once Eli & his family arrive at the super creepy house /medical facility, things start going downhill rather fast. Eli starts seeing ghosts, which, naturally, are dismissed by the doctor & his parents as a side effect of his medications. Eli progressively gets worse, hence the mad scientist & weird experiments part. Then the movie just goes off the rails.

It’s a fun movie to watch. It isn’t great, or super scary, but I was entertained enough the entire film. There are some good jump scares & I totally did not have any idea the movie would end the way it did. So that is a bonus in my book.

Gothika ~ Amazon Prime


I used to love this movie. I don’t know why anymore. This is the first time I have watched it again in years. And it is just bad. A suspension of disbelief is always required when watching horror films, but the plot holes in this movie are just beyond plausible. The acting, is also terribly disappointing from such a fantastic cast. Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Penelope Cruz are just bad in this movie.

Trigger warning: Below are spoilers of the film that depict rape & abuse.

I gave two stars because I really like the story. A highly respected criminal psychologist, Dr. Miranda Grey (Halle Berry) treats dangerous & mentally ill patients at the Woodward Penitentiary for Women. Her husband is also the warden of the prison. One patient is spotlighted, Chloe (Penelope Cruz), who claims she is being raped by the devil in her cell & her pleas are dismissed as paranoid delusions. After an intense encounter with Chloe, Miranda heads home only to almost run into a nude woman standing in the middle of the road. She gets out of the car to help & the next thing she knows she is in the very penitentiary that she works in. And she awakens days later to find out that her husband has been brutally murdered & she is the prime suspect. And of course she has no memory of it at all.

The story itself is not terrible. It is a good thriller with a supernatural twist. Spoilers ahead: Halle Berry’s character is tormented by a ghost that was also raped & tortured same as Chloe. However, it is the implausible plot holes, which includes time jumps where major events that should happen that are not even mentioned & just really bad dialogue throughout that make the film just terrible. I’m sad that I once paid for & owned this movie on DVD.

Mother! ~ Hulu

My initial thoughts after watching this film: 1) Ed Harris is usually a bad omen in movies. 2) WTF did I just watch?

I do not have any words to describe the plot of this movie other than Jennifer Lawrence plays the new wife/love/girlfriend of a famous poet suffering from writer’s block. He is unable to write due to the death of his wife and/or family during a fire in the home that they are rebuilding? *This is a very confusing movie, so my question marks are my interpretation of what I think the plot is, but not entirely sure because it’s a weird movie.* Ed Harris, a fan of the poet, shows up at their house in the middle of nowhere seeking refuge. And then his wife, Michelle Pfeiffer, shows up as we find out that despite Jennifer Lawrence’s pleas to kick out Ed Harris, he is dying of cancer, so poet husband invites him & his wife to stay to live out his dying days. Then their kids show up & family drama ensues. Then more uninvited people show up. And Jennifer Lawrence just screams all the time at people to get out of her house.

If what you just read seems like a weird stream of consciousness, it is on purpose. The plot of this movie is literally just that… a random stream of things happening that even in the end only kind of made of sense.

What I thought was seriously a horror movie about an endless stream of people showing up at your house, uninvited, when it isn’t clean, or in the middle of renovating and no food in the house (I mean, this is my personal recurring nightmare scenario) ends up just getting weird. It turns from a horror/thriller to WTF did I just watch.

My end thoughts… I don’t get it. The critics consensus on Rotten Tomatoes, “There’s no denying that mother! is the thought-provoking product of a singularly ambitious artistic vision, though it may be too unwieldy for mainstream tastes. ” Apparently, the film is too unwieldy for my taste.

Annihilation ~ Hulu


I am kicking myself for watching this movie before reading the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer, the series for which the movie is based. But, to be honest, it is so far down my “want to read” list I may be 80 before I get to it & I really wanted to watched this movie. And it wasn’t too bad.

Natalie Portman plays Lena, a biologist that is pulled into an expedition with four other women into Area X, an area of land that is preceded by a shimmering “wall” & the laws of nature do not apply. Lena & the rest of the team are investigating what happened to her husband & his team inside Area X.

It’s a science fiction film, so it isn’t scary in the classic horror sense, but the mutated landscape they discover is unnerving & the creatures they encounter are terrifying. The creature that resembles something of a bear is serious nightmare fuel. That will be my only spoiler.

Annihilation was entertaining & the world beyond the shimmer was beautiful in an unsettling way. It isn’t the greatest movie, but it did keep me off my phone, so that deserves a solid rating from me.

Rosemary’s Baby ~ Hulu


I am a terrible horror movie fan as I have never seen this movie, which is why it has been added to my list this year. I am going to start my review off by saying this is not a greatest or scariest film in the traditional sense. Mia Farrow is seriously adorable in this movie. While the acting is a bit cheesy, Mia plays the innocent, naive pregnant woman perfectly. Forget about the scary fact of potentially having the devil’s baby, being a woman in this film is the most terrifying part of this film.

The film begins with Rosemary & her husband moving into an NYC apartment building of wealthy elites…mostly of the geriatric age. Rosemary, a stay at home wife of her actor husband, befriends a young woman living with one of the elderly couples in the building. Shortly after their encounter, the woman jumps to her death outside the front of their NYC building. The elderly couple latches onto Rosemary right away, and at first her husband quite objects to this friendship.

Rosemary’s husband’s sudden change of heart with regard to her friendship with geriatric couple is red flag #1. The fact that husband despised them and is now BFF’s with the elderly couple, without Rosemary is major warning signs. And he does not like her hanging out with her former friends. Also, some more weird shit happens, including death of her friend & husband lands a lead role due to the main actor suffering from an “accident” … and we’re at red flags #2 through #5. Oh, and the bonus part of her husband ripping a book about witches out of her hands, telling her she shouldn’t be reading is like an air traffic controller, plus the dudes on ground and a road closure signs all pointing in the direction of get the hell out ASAP.

**Spoilers** She finally does leave!! But only long enough for her husband to be called to come collect the hysterical pregnant woman. Sorry, not sorry for spoiling this, but seriously this is what terrified me the most. An 8+ month pregnant woman is terrified of her husband & her creepy OBGYN & has no one to turn to for help. Her much younger friends recommend for her to go to another doctor that she eventually goes to for help, only for her only hope to call her husband, who in turn calls creepy OBGYN, to come collect her.

But seriously, the worst ending to a film EVER. I won’t ruin it.. well maybe I will. I will give up enough to say the build up of this entire movie ends up with the lamest ending to a horror film ever.

**Side note** If you are not familiar with this film, it is a cult classic for more then one reason. The film is directed by the notorious Roman Polanski, the widow of Sharon Tate who was murdered by followers of the Charles Manson. Polanski was later charged in 1978 of the rape of a 13 year old girl, which he ended up pleading guilty to a lesser charge for. The day before his sentencing, he fled to France & has avoided extradition for his alleged crimes.

But here is the really weird trailer for the film…..

Supernova Era

Supernova Era

Supernova Era by Liu Cixin


What a interesting & intriguing plot. A star in space burns out & causes catastrophic damage on Earth, the most devastating being that everyone over the age of 13 will die, leaving the entire world to be ran by children.

Now I cannot comment on the science part of this novel with relation to the Dead Star that travels to Earth that creates the supernova event, or the explanation of the event damaging the DNA of those over the age of 13. Suspension of disbelief is important to me when reading because books bring you into world where anything is possible and this is one of those novels.

The adults are left to teach the children as much as they can about everything from driving to running the power station to running the government. The one thing that took me out of the story a bit is that I felt the kids dialogue didn’t sound a lot like how 11 & 12 years old would talk, but then again, they did get thrown into becoming adults quite soon. I think maybe the fact this is a translated novel might be another reason.

What the adults imagine the world the children will run is a world of peace & harmony. And we soon find out what really happens if children were left in charge of running the entire world.

I really enjoyed this book. Sci-fi is not my usual genre, but it was an entertaining read & the plot was unique. I found myself wanting to read more about the children’s world & how they continue to progress when it ended.

Thank you to BookishFirst & Tor/Forge Books for the advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

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